Sunday, January 16, 2011

Girl Scouts vs. Waldorf

    It has been a long time since I've encountered Waldorfian snobbery. I forgot how demeaning it is. After a fun filled day with thousands of Girl Scouts, I was caught unaware. My daughter and I were beaming with "girl power" happiness and cute cookie kick off badges when we walked into the dank rudeness that my daughter must live with now that a Waldorf teacher will soon be her step mother.
  She sat on a stool, lord of her kitchen while my daughter and I excitedly talked about our day. Every detail of the day was met with a judgmental "ugh" from the Waldorf teacher. I very quickly felt like her foot was slowly pressing down on our sunny dispositions. Happiness was not acceptable. I tried to get out of there as fast as I could, but my older daughter was talking to me as well. We were jolly and happy to be together. I was conflicted about leaving my two children in that environment. Luckily, they don't notice the fake smiles the Waldorf teacher gives them. I see through her and they are blinded by her quiet and always shooshing demeanor.
  Having 50/50 custody with my ex can be difficult at times. Sometimes the kids want to be at my home when they are with their Dad, and sometimes they want to be with him while they are with me. We choose our new partners and have to accept each other's choices. 
  The girls were staying with him, but I had permission to take my Girl Scout daughter to the largest Girl Scout event of the year, The Cookie Kick Off. We ate pizza, and the girls made sugar tubes packed with fruity and sour sugar powder. We bought a small set for my older daughter. As we went through the booths and exhibits, I had forgotten about the long history of the Girl Scouts relationship to our country. It must have been a very empowering group back in the early 1900's. They continue the "girl power" mantra today. 
  My daughter wrote a letter to the troops in Afghanistan and I read the beautiful replies from the soldiers to the Girl Scouts. They have a program with the soldiers over seas where you can send boxes of Girl Scout cookies to the troops. They receive thousands of boxes every year. There is a historical relationship between the Girl Scouts and America's military. 
  The most popular spot of the day was the American Girl booth. We entered the raffle to win the new doll, Kanani from Hawaii. The girls waited in long lines to jump in the bouncies and slide down the enormous blow up slides that were set up around the perimeter of the event. The whole event was loud with laughing and screaming girls. Thousands of them!
  The cookie kick off tee shirts were so cute and worded with positive girl messages. So were the cookie earings that smelled like thin mints and samoas. This event was all about teaching girls how to be entrepeneurs for themselves (and how to run a convention). These are great skills for young girls to learn that are not taught in school. Plus, my daughter won the American Girl Doll! We sang and laughed the whole drive home.


  As soon as my daughter walked in the door of her Dad's house, she was greeted by the Waldorf teacher with a big fake smile. Tense, and not sure what to say to me, she immediately told my daughter to shoosh because her Dad was on the phone. This, obviously, was a difficult thing for us to do after the excitement of the day. I came in only for a couple of minutes so I could fish out the cookie papers I needed from our Girl Scout bag (there was no light outside of the house). She did not invite me in.
  The teacher sat atop a stool and watched me as I pulled fun items out from the day. Then I saw it. The judgement. Oh yeah! I forgot about that. I handed the powder sugar kit to my older daughter and the teacher groaned. I made a joke to try to lighten the tension, but the teacher was stone faced. Everything in our bright yellow bag was evil and unnecessary. My older daughter was excited to see me after not having seen me in a few days. The teacher glared at me. I had to leave...quickly. Before I made it to the door, she very rudely kicked me out. My daughters were dumbfounded and afraid to hug me goodbye. I was afraid to hug them goodbye.
  I opened the door to the pitch black night. No porch light. She might as well have had a broom and swept me out the door like a bug. It was that awful. As I closed the door, I looked at both daughters stunned into silence. It had been a long time since they saw the teacher treat me this way. Then I left.
  The whole drive home I thought many things, first of them being: My poor children. They have to live in that controlling environment. The other thoughts were: What is wrong with this person? How can she act that way in front of the kids? Doesn't she know that I am the mother of the two children who live with her? Doesn't she know how her actions affect the children and the family dynamics? 
  Ahhhh... Now I remember.... At Waldorf, the parents are ignorant. It is the teachers who decide how the children should be raised and tell the parents how to do it, even if they have never been a parent. They are masters of elitism and making parents feel insignificant. I think the teacher actually believes that my children came out of her body somehow. The lack of respect towards people outside of the Waldorf cult was magnified in that short exchange. It was awful. Who chooses to live that way? And why? And why do my children have to live under that kind of scrutiny?


  My daughter and I had had the most fun day surrounded by thousands of girls being encouraged to do whatever they want in life. Dropping my daughter off into a controlling and judgmental environment was very difficult. Especially as a mother. I want what is best for my children. They deserve the best. Unfortunately I have no control over whom my ex decides to have living with the children. As long as she doesn't poison them, there is not much I can do. I have to accept this teacher and hope that someday I will garner the respect I deserve. 
  She scares me.


  

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